Vol VIII, Issue 1 Date of Publication: January 10, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2023.002

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Police investigation and unethical “scientific interrogation”

Jinee Lokaneeta
Shraddha Walkar’s horrific murder has rekindled the urgent issue of domestic violence and violence against women in India [1]. With women’s bodies often becoming part of a larger ideological and political narrative, Walkar’s brutal murder was given a communal turn due to the interfaith nature of the relationship. The most visible manifestation of this was the attack by members of the Hindu Sena on the accused, Aaftab, while being taken from the forensic lab to Tihar jail [2], in the name of “protecting their women”. The other line of attack was on live-in relationships as somehow being responsible for this violence. As feminist Urvashi Butalia [3] says, rather than acknowledging that mistakes in relationships can occur tragically, in all contexts, irrespective of who chooses the partner — the woman or her family — and across religion, class, or caste, there is a tendency to start challenging women’s choices and imposing a “lesson”: “Do not make your own decisions, abide by what the family says, we know better than you what you want”. She also notes the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes estimate that nearly six out of every ten women (58%) who are intentionally killed, worldwide, are murdered by intimate partners or family members [3]. Marital rape is not even legally considered rape in India, and violent lynchings are often the response to women’s choices.

Copyright and license
©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2023: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0),
which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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